Ricochet News

DA and ANC in row over cancelled Parliamentary sittings

By Charl Bosch - Aug 24, 2015
DA and ANC in row over cancelled Parliamentary sittings

The African National Congress (ANC) has accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) of intentionally lying to South Africans and the media about the reported cancellation of a number of Portfolio and National Assembly sittings in Parliament this week.

In an entry on Politicsweb, spokesperson in the office of ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani, Moloto Mothapo, said comments made by DA Deputy Chief Whip, Mike Waters, about the dropping of meetings in favour of a Chairperson’s Media and Communication workshop, amounted to nothing more than cheap propaganda as all events of the National Assembly Programming Committee (NAPC) are always “open and transparent”.

Speaking in a statement yesterday, Waters stated that the ruling party’s decision to cancel the meetings shows that it doesn’t take the oversight responsibilities of the NAPC seriously, and that the workshop merely acts as a “spin class” where it can avoid addressing topics of importance.

“This week's programme of Parliament was declared a "committee week" with a view to decrease the number of House sittings in order to afford parliamentary committees time to finalise critical legislation before them,” Mothapo said.

“The Committee Week is important to ensure that the House timeously and effectively fulfill its legislative mandate before the end of the term. It is an embarrassing indictment on the standard of our official opposition that it would publicly display such ignorance of such an important aspect of Parliament's constitutional function”.

Referring to the workshop, Mothapo added that it falls in line with Parliament’s capacity building strategy for all MP’s, and that the DA’s description of it as a spin class, “is both silly and reflective of how little it comprehends the real work of Parliament”.

Reacting to Mothapo, Waters stated that the response was not surprising, and that the party stands by assertion that the sittings were called-off to avoid the matters at hand.

“The chairpersons’ media and communication training workshop could have taken place during recess or over a weekend, and cancelling committee meetings in order to accommodate them is a poor programming decision,” Waters said, adding that it would also launch an investigation into the costs of the workshop.